FORGOTTEN GIANTS: Species #1 - Puertasaurus reuili
*Now rescaled and heavily revised with shorter torso and longer tail to reflect more accurately the spinal proportions based on Novas et. al., 2005 and also on related genera* Limbs have been thickened and straightened from the previous version. (The Giganotosaurus is also revised, ironically with a longer torso than before.)
The recently discovered mega-titanosaur Puertasaurus reuili, a giant to dwarf the giants - rigorously scaled, in high-fidelity TRIPLE axial view, for the very first time!
This is an update of the very first high-fidelity reconstruction of Puertasaurus ever done - the first version was featured on the awesome sauropod blog SV-POW: [link] This ground-breaking reconstruction (in its earlier form [link]) also inspired Vladimir Nikolov's excellent painting of the animal [link] , Teratophoneus's drawing, [link] , as well as Rexisto's titanosaur silhouettes [link] on Mesozoico.com and Roy van Hees' 3D walk cycle of the animal on youtube: [link] .
This reconstruction is also the basis of my collaborative work with Chris Masna [link] on this phenomenal rendered version: [link] In-progress pics: [link]
A hypothetical diagram approximating the likely shape and size of the dorsal vertebrae is included - the torso is considerably shorter than in the previous version. Missing portions of the known fossils are also shaded. Giganotosaurus (though it lived earlier) is included for scale as it was the largest meat-eater. The largest predator of Puertasaurus's fauna was Orkoraptor, an allosauroid supposedly similar in size to Giganotosaurus. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Known only from a lower neck vertebra, a front dorsal, and two as-of-yet unpublished tail vertebrae, this creature was colossal even compared to other giant titanosaurs. It was even larger than Argentinosaurus[link] , and so far only Alamosaurus seems to have equaled or exceeded it in size. Puertasaurus is a very late-evolving member of Lognkosauria, a strange family of intermediate titanosaurs with extremely massive vertebrae with massive processes, and short but extremely wide rib cages.
Puertasaurus probably had the widest and most voluminous rib cage of any animal known to science - although the ribs are missing, the huge width and depth of the wing-like transverse processes of the 2nd dorsal indicates they supported an unusually wide rib cage, perhaps as wide as 7.3 meters (24 ft). When alive, the whole animal probably weighed well over 100 tons. A particularly odd feature of this species is its unusual neck shape - wider than it is deep, and with very squat centra, this design made possible a downright insane range of vertical motion, even perhaps leaning the head back past vertical, but also likely limited horizontal/lateral neck motion to some degree. The head and mouth likely would have been very wide as well.
Puertasaurus appeared in southern Argentina some 69 million years ago, long after the first Lognkosaurians, which date back to the mid-Cretaceous - in fact, it's one of the last sauropods to have lived, and certainly the last of the truly gigantic ones.
Pencil on paper, 11x17" 2009. Digitally revised, 2010 & 2011
References: Novas, Fernando E.; Salgado, Leonardo; Calvo, Jorge; and Agnolin, Federico (2005). "Giant titanosaur (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia". Revisto del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, n.s. 7 (1): 37–41.
Actually adult blue whales can reach 200 tons. And the other thing that makes the comparison pretty moot is that blue whales are migratory filter feeders that can gain/lose half of their body weight depending on the season (feeding season versus mating season).
So a blue whale can weigh 100 tons in summer and 200 tons in winter... its average would be 150 tons, not the max.
That said, Puertasaurus probably DID outweigh most if not all other species of whales. As least given the sizes they reach today after commercial whaling has killed off most individuals whose genes predisposed them to high-percentile sizes for their species.
Much of what makes the large blue whales more massive than Puertasaurus is fat(blubber + the amount it gains in winter), right? So, Puertasaurus may have had more muscle mass then even the largest known blue whales, especially if you go by how Scott Hartman fleshes out his skeletals...
I somewhere read that the many blue whales which weighed like 200 tonnes were killed in the 20th Century and these days their maximum is like 150 tonnes.I don't know if that is correct or not.Puertasaurus did outweighed all whales except Blue Whale.I don't know how some people increase the size of a Sauropod and then decrease it.Now Argentinosaurus is 75 tonnes ? and someday someone will say Puertasaurus was like 80 tonnes ?
Argentinosaurus could theoretically have been as heavy as 90 tons, based on the experiments that have been done on PVC scale models of the bones. (There was a discovery channel series covering this). However I decided to go with a more moderate estimate of 80 tons.
The 75 tons estimate is based on Ken Carpenter's interpretation of Argentinosaurus, which is too compact and basically just a scaled-up Saltasaurus clone. (one gets the impression he's not really top dog when it comes to titanosaur diversity.) When in fact Argentinosaurus looks far more basal overall and doesn't have a single saltasaur bone in its body. More recently there are some folks considering it an antarctosaurid rather than a basal titanosaur... but my warning there is that there's not much overlap in the remain, and even Antarctosauridae is a rather diverse group (much more so than Saltasauridae), and some antarctosaurs have very un-saltasaur-like proportions.
I still think it was a basal type though. If you ask me, the sauropod with vertebrae most similar to Argentinosaurus is probably Phuwiangosaurus, which isn't even a true titanosaur (thought it's awfully close). Andesaurus may also have been similar, but none of its anterior dorsals or hip components have been found so it's tough to compare.
If you go off of P. distercii, then possibly yes... but it's only known from badly eroded footprints, so its true dimensions are unknown. The biggest proven dinosaur known from actual bones that STILL exist, is Puertasaurus. So that's my criteria for the "biggest" being Puertasaurus. We actually still have the bones to scale it from. And they're not crumbling apart.
Were there even bigger dinosaurs than Puertasaurus? Possibly. But we don't have 100% solid and currently existing proof that any of them WERE conclusively bigger. Remember, Puertasaurus may have gotten a good bit bigger than the type specimen that has so far been found. It may not be an exceptionally large individual for its species, so conceivably, Puertasaurus could still be the biggest dinosaur.
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